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Elizabeth Roberts; John Roberts Education. (2009) Elizabeth Roberts; John Roberts ('Freeing Tibet').

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India 18, U.s. 15, Buddhism 9, Us 8, United States 8, Eisenhower 6, Vietnam 5, New York 5, New Jersey 4, Beijing 4, Ginsberg 3, The C.i.a. 3, The F.b.i. 3, South Africa 3, Russia 3, Washington 3, Nepal 3, Graham Greene 2, Nixon 2, Tibet 2,
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  CSPAN    Book TV    Elizabeth Roberts; John Roberts  Education.  (2009)  
   Elizabeth Roberts; John Roberts ('Freeing Tibet').  

    August 23, 2009
    9:00 - 9:59am EDT  

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website for your future reference. our featured authors today are john and elizabeth roberts. john roberts served in the reagan white house for two terms in areas of planning and evaluation, as well as the office of political and intergovernmental affairs. . .
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>> our friends today combined information about freeing tibet on the establishment of the tibetan area. we are looking forward to their discussion in a very readable book and i know that john and elizabeth had have special comments for us and join us for the q & a afterwards. so please join me in welcoming to the podium, john roberts. >> just a little bit over 50 years ago, a very enigmatc monk sailed into the harbor of new york to settle into the saw it's. i decided to start this morning talking about him, because he turned out to be the living human bridge in a changing political movement to maintain
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tibet's freedom that began as a cold war operation in the 1950's under president truman, and continued to become a counterculture cause up till today, where it's a mass global movement. and that transformation of a political movement to maintain freedom for an occupied country is really a kind of profound thing. the monk was a colmic mongolian. they shared tibetan buddhism going back 50 years with the dalai lama and the tibetan theocracy. he never would have come to the united states if it weren't for world war ii. at the end of world war ii, there were many displaced people in the soviet union including in mongolia and a coup of calmics decided they would settle in the united states and end up in new jersey. the problem was they had no
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religious leader at all in new jersey. there were no buddhists in the united states worth speaking about, a handful on the west coast, but otherwise, booedism was as exotic as it could be. when geshae, i'm going to call him geshae, which means doctor. when geshae sailed into the harbor in new york, he was such a colorful figure that the news services sent out a photographer to take a full portrait of him and put it in the newspapers. this was a big development. this buddhist priest arrives in the united states. geshae attracted attention from a lot of different quarters. he was the first individual to introduce american diplomats to the dalai lama's family. at the request of the dalai lama's mother, he went down to calcutta, contacted the american consulate in the early 1950's and pleaded with the
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consulate to send a diplomat up to meet with the dalai lama to discuss how he might receive exile in the united states and flee chinese persecution in tibet. geshae also attracted interest from america's beat necks in the 1950's. coincidentally with the interest of american diplomats and the central intelligence agency, people like jack karowac, who was an absolutely unknown writer, were developing an interest in buddhism, generally. first in zen buddhism and secondly through the work of robert campbell in buddhism. the mid 1950's were a period of cultural ferment in the united states with the beat neck movement that would eventually become the support basis for the tibetan resistance, but eventually took about 20 years, because something else was happening in 1955 when geshae
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sailed into new york harbor. here in washington, d.c., president eisenhower was trying to figure out how best to fight against international communism. in a series of national security council meetings throughout 955, he had been presented with options from open warfare to covert sub version of russian and chinese communist activity around the world. it was only recently learned that in the early 1950's, the u.s. intelligence services had picked up definitive information that russia and china were cooperating in the korean war. when this information was presented to eisenhower, he decided that the u.s. had to have a response to international communism. and what that meant roughly was the u.s. believed that russia and china were cooperating so closely that we in turn had to fight against both of them as if they were one. now this was a theory of
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monolithic communism and in 1955 it looked true. right around christmas of that year, eisenhower signed a document for the national security council called 54122. 54122 was a document outlining activities that is true central intelligence agency should undertake worldwide to undermine international communism. and it was an extremely specific document. it's kind of fun to read it, we put it in the appendix of the book, but it directs, it doesn't ask, it directs the c.i.a. to go out and begin geurilla wars and to do all the activities pat it's with that -- compatible with that order, short of doing a war and to do it secretly and to do it in such a way that is true u.s. could deny it ever happened. 54122-1, which we don't go into much, was a national security
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council basically saying that is true c.i.a. would be responsible for all covert activity in the government, not the defense department, not the state department, not the office of personnel management, not the f.b.i.,. 5412-2, once eisenhower signed it, set in change for the tibetans. the tibetan live with communism since 1950. shortly after mao -- the tibetans weren't sure how to respond to this, so in 1955 while eisenhower was signing 5412-2 and geshae was landing in new jersey to become the spiritual leader for a community of mongals, the dalai lama was in beijing meeting with chairman mao and the dalai lama atented for a long period to establish a
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mode of operation with china. he wanted to figure our to cooperate in a way that will allow the tibetans to keep their culture and religion alive and their traditional system of government somewhat alive, but still within the context of chinese occupation, chinese rule. now this is a period of great dissension within the tibetan world. in eastern tibet in provinces, there was a lot of resistance to the chinese and in areas where the chinese began to try to implement reforms aggressively, particularly communal reforms that involve seizing people's land, livestock, the tibetans often spontaneously rose up in resistance. this happened also in other regions, but calm i think probably was the center of the resistance. in 1955, was the year when the resistance fighting really flared. several major chinese garrisons were besieged, and it was a
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spontaneous kind of revolt that was perfect for the purposes of 5412-2. geshae's contacts with american diplomats in calcutta were the basis for the c.i.a. to be able to make contact with leading tibetan figures in the dalai lama's immediate circle, sickly one of his older brothers, an one other older brother, for the purpose of offering american support. and that support was quite specific. the u.s. would train tibetan gill last to fight the chinese, provided the dalai lama came into exile. getting him to leave tibet was a huge adventure story, which is something of like an indiana tale, lots of swashbucklers involved there. it took him about 18 days to make the passage from lasa to india, and during that time,
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president eisenhower received radio reports from the c.i.a. director, every other day. charting the progress of the tibetans, the c.i.a. had managed to train and put in place some agents, who could accompany the dalai lama on a very hazardous journey through the mountains, and eisenhower was in almost realtime getting information about what was happening. thanks to geshae. geshae was brought down to washington to a safe house in georgetown to translate the radio reports coming out of tibet about the dalai lama and his movement. once he was safely out, a full fledged guerrilla operation began. i think the tibetan national uprising in which some 85,000 tibetans lost their lives, was probably the high watermark of that resistance. many of the weapons that had been flown into tibet and parachuted down to the himalayas
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came as a result of the american support operation. the dalai lama himself never personally sanctioned this violence. in fact, he was very dubious and for a long time, the united states is the classified united states cable show was equally dubious about him. there was great fear that the dalai lama might cooperate with beijing, particularly in a period when he was meeting with chairman mao and undermine the idea of a resistance operation on the top of the world. i first became interested in this personally. in south africa in the early 1990's, with one of the c.i.a. officers, who was intimately involved with the operation in india told me about it. we were sitting on the veranda of a hotel overlooking the indian ocean with out of the blue, he asked, you know, have i ever told but my experiences with the dalai lama? and i couldn't figure out what prompted him to even get into that topic at that point. so i of course said no, i have no idea. tell me about it.
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and he began this tale of u.s. involvement training guerrilla fighters in the mountains of colorado, for fight against propaganda with the dalai lama's brother meeting with mrs. eisenhower and with a black propaganda war, a very respected body of lawyers in geneva, and ultimately, a war that ended tragically for the tibetans. in the late 1960's, after a series of embarrassments involving american overflights of chinese and russian territories, particularly the u2 downing of gary powers aircraft, american diplomats had decided that overflights compromised a lot of our diplomatic objectives. the state department was wide concerned, eisenhower had actually lost one important
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summit as a report of powers, u2 being down and flights into the himalayas to drop weapons to the tibetans were viewed as extremely risky. and they were restricted. my friend howard, who had told me about the dalai lama, happened to be in india in 1962, at a time when a group of about 5,000 tibetan fighters were surrounded in the mountains of the himalayas and radioing urgently for help. geshae was probably again translating those messages. they were encircled by the pla, numerically superior troop with better communications on the ground, decent weapons, although the chinese commanders, according to some captured documents thought they fought badly compared to the tibetans. nonetheless, they had vast numbers and this outnumbered group had only one lifeline left. and that was that the united states were to fly more supplies in, drop them bullets, so they could continue the battle and possibly fight their way out of
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the trap. this is right about the time of another major embarrassment for the c.i.a., the bay of pigs in cuba, where also, the 5412 group, including some of the same people involved in tibet, had attempted to start a guerrilla operation there, but ended up having to abandon the guerrillas on the beach. in the himalayas, about 5,000 were abandoned, because basser galbraith, then our ambassador to india, wouldn't authorize the drop of weapons that needed to go into give these men a fighting chance to get out. my friend had a tremendous argument with galbraith over this, but he couldn't persuade him differently and by that point the back bone of the tibetan resistance had been crushed. this is in 1962. the rebellion really only lasted at its peak four or five years, but at that same time, something interesting had been happening. alan ginsberg happened to be in india in 1961 and 1962.
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he had gone over to find out what it was that spiritual leaders in india knew that leaders in the west didn't. and he went about india during an 11-month stay in the country, trying to meet with every holy man he could, including the dalai lama. at the time ginsberg was experimenting with lsd and other substances like that, to see whether one could achieve consciousness through mind expanding drugs. and so he asked the dalai lama, he said what do you think about using lsd as a way of achieving parallel states of awareness in tibetan buddhism and he had a conversation about that. the dalai lama sort of teased him and said tell me about the extra sensory powers you get with lsd, can you see for example what's inside my brief days over there and the dalai lama said no no, it's knots like that. he offered to share some lsd to try it if he wanted to see how
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it worked. in this period in 1962, i don't think it was even illegal yet. i think it was 1965 before it was actually outlawed, but ginsberg came back out of that trip to india with a real interest in the tibetan buddhist struggle. his journals from that trip to india talk a lot about the international politics of the time. he wondered, and wrote in his journals, he wondered whether the atrocities were real or not. he speculated about whether the u.n. could be a forum for bringing together crew she and the dalai lama to best handle the problems taking part in that part of the world. there are many westerners making the journey to india and to darmasala in particular, to meet with the dalai lama and learn
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about tibetan buddhism. the other one introduced to the dalai lama was robert thurman. you probably would know him best today as one of the leading experts in america on tibetan resistance, but also the father of uma thurman. he was a wanderer in the early 1960's, he had been married to an oil heiress in texas, and that marriage ended badly andy decided to go around the world to find himself. his father died, you returned to new york for the funeral and it was while he was in new york that he bumped into geshae. who said, well, i've got a buddhist retreat center down in in new jersey. i could use somebody like you to teach english to my monks, and if you want, we can make you a deal, can you come down and stay with me and eat at the retreat center, and you teach them english, i'll feed you. thurman thought, what do you know, i found the teacher i was looking for right here in new
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jersey, instead of all the way across the world. after a few years at the retreat center, he decided he needed higher training and geshae took him to india, introduced him to the dalai lama and the dalai lama's personal tutor and he became the first american buddhist monk after a few years of learning. he returned to the u.s., decided that the academic life was more his calling, and got a ph.d. and became america's leading expert on tibetan buddhism here and also a political activist on behalf of tibet. the ties into the counterculture in between many of these characters are highly personal. the woman that thurman married previously had -- and who is now the mother of his children, previously had been married to timothy leery, who was ginsberg's partner in pushing for a psychedelic revolution in the west.
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the first book leery published on the psychedelic revolution was maced on his misunderstanding of the tibetan book of the dead. so the passing of the mantle from the central intelligence agency and its covert warriors to this counterculture movement was a subtle but continuous affair, and it happened almost imperceptiblely in many ways, but almost paneling calmicsly. i think a buddhist might call it a cosmic development and in fact, there is a lot of thought that the chinese occupation of tibet was intended to help spread tibetan buddhism throughout the west. certainly has had that effect. it's an irony of the the story that we try to tell, that the tibetan resistance itself found the chinese intelligence documents that resulted in the
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u.s. concluding that international communism was an overstated threat. after the majority of the fighters in tibet were massacred, the c.i.a. tried a different tact, which was to establish a base in puss tank, a tiny kingdom near nepal, where the rebels would be able to cross into tibet and hopefully set up further bases and spread a resistance movement. for many, many reasons, that plan never came off, but some raids inside tibet did happen and on one particular raid, the tibetan guerrillas captured some very significant chinese intelligence after they ambushed the convoy of a chinese commander. the intelligence documents that came out of that raid were so important that the c.i.a. director personally carried them into the white house in the same blood-stained satchel they have been retrieved in, like he was carrying a trophy, and put them in front of the 5412 special group and the top national security advisers. what they showed was that china
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hat that point in time had had a five-year, great leap forward plan that was such a disappointment that millions had died of famine. the document said explicitly that if the united states were to go to war with china over taiwan, and use nuclear weapons, the chinese leadership doubted that the soviet union would support them. the chinese felt so alienated and isolated from the russians that there was no way that international communism could be a fact. the cyano soviet rift was real. within the u.s. government, there were many people that didn't believe that the cyano soviet rift was real. that was a massive disinformation operation it was believed. but other thinkers concluded that in fact, china and russia were not cooperate willing,
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especially after they got into a border war in its 1960's. that almost conclusively settled it and with president nixon was elected in 1968, his first order of business was to begin the process of reaching out to china, as a way to bring an end to the vietnam war. in doing that, his national security adviser, henry kissinger, drew the lesson from past efforts to negotiate with both the chinese and the russians that peripheral intelligence operations more frequently would result in scuttling these diplomatic overtures than not and therefore he went about shutting down all operations targeting the chinese that he felt had any risk of ruining next on's opening to china. one of them, sadly beings was support for the tibetans. it's often been said and you'll find it in a lot of the literature, that the chinese insisted that the u.s. drop its support for the tibetans in order to establish relations with the chinese.
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sadly, in our research, we found that there really isn't anything to document the fact that the chinese insisted on this, an on the contrary, there's plenty of information to show that it was the american side that unilaterally cut off support for the chinese. it began by demobilizing the fighters at the guerrilla base in mustang, trying to reintegrate them into civilian operations, but by 1974, it had reached the point where in order to set up formal diplomatic recognition in beijing, kissinger not only wanted to shut down the intelligence operation, but also to withdraw the stipend the u.s. had promised to support the tibetan government in exile, to close tibetan cultural offices in new york and london and other places around the world, which the tibetans refused to do and in every other way to leave the dalai lama and the tibetans high and dry and that probably is
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where the story might have ended. one more exiled government, one more exile movement in the world, veinly struggling against the odds. were it knots for the fact that is true american countertell generallism had established darmasala pa centers in the west, everywhere from shabala western centers, to england, the tibetans now had a network of support centers and fund raising capability, and people who would host visits by tibetan leaders to continue to talk about the tibetan cause, one of the first of whom was the dalai lama. when he began going abroad in 1974, he wasn't welcomed in five star hotels and he didn't have the leaders of the world opening their doors to them. he literally traveled from darma center to darma center, mainly
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giving spiritual readings,ful,ft shall to keep the tibetan movement alive. he is one of the 10 best known in the world today. not so much because governments sustained him through the period of 1974 to the 1990's, when he finally won the nobel peace prize, but because this counterculture movement did. but what we found so interesting about writing this book, was that it began with a c.i.a. cold war story that's got a lot of intrigue and daring in the mountains of the himalayas, secret agents, double crosses and ends up being a story that is sustained by the beat neck movement, a generation of poets and writers and now we've come almost full circle to where the dalai lama of course has such overwhelming international support from foreign leaders that he is himself a member of the global establishment.
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that said, what is going to happen about tibet? and when will it ever be free? and i'll make just one or two quick points and open this to questions. that's a question a lot of us were asking back in the 1980's when i worked in the reagan white house about the soviet union and we looked at the soviet union and we thought, when will ukraine ever be free, when will the poles ever be able to leave their exile in london and go home. when will romania be free. in fact, most of us didn't even ask that question. that would have seemed a little bit too abstract and i don't think anybody thought to say, will the kashaks ever have a republic? i mean, that was considered really a lost cause. many of the same things that china has been doing in tibet, the russians had been doing in their far flunk republics, they had been transferring the ethnic population there, they had been doing their best to suppress
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local cultures, religions and habits, in fact, they had done that all throughout eastern europe as well. i was in romania shortly after the revolution there. in fact, a lot of the buildings in romania bucharest were still smoldering when i was in there, but a church had been reopened. how did that happen? you can't eradicate a culture without eradicating a people. and as long as the tibetan people are alive, they're going to keep their culture alive and there is hope for them, just as there always was hope for the soviet union under the right circumstances. people look at the global today and they say china is becoming so strong, its economy is now the third largest and may soon be the second largest, you know, how can we possibly think that china is we. that same economic interdependence between the west and china ironically gives us the kind of leverage that nixon once thought might be the case.
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that enables us to perhaps have political reform and change in china, sooner than we think, by using that economic power. we firmly believe that a south african style divesment campaign of consumer boycotts, economic sanction, really can modify china's behavior, particularly at this time when china is struggling to keep up a 6% growth rate, which is the bare minimum, 5% to 6%, to be able to employ its young college graduates and its new workers coming into the work force every year. if china can't keep up a 5% or 6% annual growth rate, china will fall into political chaos, and the regime will come under tremendous pressure. so the kind of impact that we would like to see through this kind of consumer activity, consumer bo boycotts, not buying anything with a made in china
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label, doesn't have to take away much more than 1% to 2% of china's growth to push the regime into serious, serious difficulties. my co-author, whom i probably should have introduced to you much earlier today, my wife elizabeth, is so adamant about how this can work that she actually won't buy anything made in china. we were at a march 10 rally in santa fe last month, and when she spoke there, she told the assembled tibetan community and their supporters, that she simply 100% won't buy anything a made in china, you can buy things in other countries where workers are free from mexico to honduras to sri lanka and they're equally good, usually equally cheap. you have to look around a little bit. sometimes you actually find goods that are keeper not made in china, because one nasty little trick that multinational corporations are doing is they're making things in china, but then they're exporting them to markets in europe and in
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north america, and selling them at the same kind of prices they used to sell them at with they were made here or down in mexico. coach leather is a great example of that. i love coach leather, great company, they now make everything in china, but they don't sell it any cheaper. that coach belt still costs you about $100 and that handbag is going to be $300 or $400, so the idea that something made in china is cheaper, it's better for consumers, has not panned out. alan greenspan himself was asked about that himself on a book tour two or three years ago. how did he explain the fact even though things were made in china, prices have not come down andy answered. i can't explain it. it's a conundrum. maybe the barriers to entry in china are higher than he thought. that's what he said. well, they are. because basically, what exists in china today is the kind of croney capitalism and once you do get into the market as a foreign corporation, you have plenty of avenues to restrict competition from other foreign corporations. there isn't a developed legal
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system in china, it's very hard to -- if you don't have the insider access, it's very hard to get in and do business, and once you do, you with keep your competitors out, but i'm not going to beat the economic horse to death right here, other than to say that i don't think if we want to see democratic change in china, and in tibet, that we're going to get it by waiting for the g8 or or the g7 or the g20 to do it for us. i think that the beijing olympics showed that international pressure for political reform in china of the moral variety, is insufficient. i think the only variety that really will work if engaged people around the world say to themselves, i have the power to make a difference here. instead of buying something that supports the chinese regime, i think i'll buy something that supports india. we're not protectionists, we're not anti-import. we're just saying that exercise a little political awareness
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when you buy, and you can, with every purchase you make, particularly at this juncture, when the world economy has flattened and the global trading system as flattened, your individual decisions now will have a far greater impact than they would have two, three, four years ago with china's growth rate was in the double digit. so now is the time. the change really can happen. it can be just as surprising as it was when one day the berlin wall came down for those of you who remember that, and we are hopeful that that day is in the not too distant future. so with that, we'd like to open it to your questions. [applause] >> and just so you won't think we have slighted elizabeth from the beginning, we knew she was going to join us for the question and answer and there are some in the audience, wait
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for the mic, give us the courtesy of a name and an affiliation, i will start off with one a little more ridiculous. i had not thought of richard gere being the timothy leery of our day, but i guess there is some connection to this. do you think there is any catch 22 in some of the counterculture identity with this and while it's giving it notoriety, is it giving it always the best notoriety? >> i think in our culture today, celebrities are so important. they really do commands -- 50 years ago, a lot of celebrities in the world were literary figures, like ernest hemming way and even some of the writers, jack karog in a notorious way was covered in "time" magazine, but it's really people who are on that home wood screen and i think the involvement of people like richard gere is crucial to draw attention to the tibetan cause. i do also think that the
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emphasis on psychedelics in the mid 1960's, that probably was a little more of a draw back. although an interesting bridge as it were. >> i have a question over here on the front. >> my name is maura and i work with radio free asia and i enjoyed your talk very much. i gist returned from a month in india, i was covering the march 10th events for radio free asia and i first lived in india in the early 1960's and i -- 1970's and i met the tibetan refugees there and i've been very involved in their cause for the last 35 years. i'm interested in the story about the tibet people have reached, it began with the kissinger doctrine which pulled the plug for support for the rebels and since then we have seen america go to extraordinary lengths to prop up the chinese communist party and i find it very confusing that we fought the cold war to contain communism in the soviet union,
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but it seems like every administration, reason or democratic -- republican or democratic is going to great lengths to keep the chinese communists in power and the chinese communists are moving so marginallily to belittle the dalai lama to not meet with him and to cut support even to the tibetan refugees and they've been very successful. if they can bully nicholas sarkozi, while they are increasing the language and methods of the cultural revolution inside tibet and the mao cult has made an enormous comeback in tibet and i'm very much afraid -- also, they have nepal, the chinese now control nepal and i believe they killed king belandra, and this is going to cut the passage of refugees from tibet into india into meeting people like us
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journalists and so forth, and so where do you think it's going? the executive branch is doing everything in its power, it always has, for all countries, to prop up the chinese communist party and the support for the dalai lama is actually very weak, it's a celebrity, he's the butt of a joke in the "sex & the city" episode, but support for him and his government is very weak an they're very poor and the chinese have infiltrated the dalai lama's government with spies like they're doing here. heritage has done work on this. where do you think this is going to go? >> well, do you want to take some of that and -- >> i think one thing you have to understand is that -- i'll let john answer the question about the government, but last year, the chinese government came out with order number five. order number five states that the chinese government from here on out, is the only one able to be recognize a reincarnation of a high or a low lalama in tibetan buddhism.
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the tibetan buddhists will not allow this to happen. one thing you need to understand about a tibetan is that their religion i don't know of buddhism is not simply a religion, as we are in america, we have catholics, we have jewish, protestant. a tibetan is a buddhist through and through. they're a buddhist through their religion, they're a buddhist through their art, their song, their culture. it is how thoar. i firmly believe that in going forward, when this dalai lama dies, we will have two dalai lama its, we'll have two karmapas, because you will have one appointed by the chinese government, and then you will have the real one recognized by the tibetans. the tibetan people will only recognize and follow the rein car ration, for example, of the next dalai lama, that was recognized by the tibetan people. they will never recognize a rein car ration who was appointed by
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the chinese government. it happened with the penchant hall ma. we have not seen the pen can't hall ma since he was appointed 20 years ago. we don't know if he's alive, where his family is. so again, i'm going to keep the government part to john, that's his better understanding. i'm better about tibetan buddhism. >> this may be one of the dark hours again. i'm not sure it's the darkest hour of tibeta tibetan buddhismt now, particularly in dalai lama and the move to regain autonomy in tibet, but i'm reminded a little bit, i have enough of a historical perspective, because of my involvement in the cold war, late part of that in the 1980's, that i remember very well when we were terribly concerned about guerrilla movements in nicauraga, in el salvador.
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i have long talks with the f.b.i., and the independent council and the house senate investigating committee about my tiny little involvement in something called the iran-contra affair back in those days. so we not only -- we not only were very concerned about what looked like a dramatic increase in the tempo of soviet activity, but we fought it, and we fought it in ways that, in some instances like the iran-contra affair got us into some bit of trouble. congress didn't always think the need was quite as acute. i'm bringing that up, because to me, the chinese activities today smack of desperation. it looks very much like a regime that is in fear of losing control, just as the soviet under gorbachev were in fear of losing control, which they did. when you're witnessing the repression of close -- as you have, you just come back, i
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think that there are good reasons why right now there's a sense of desparantment. and aft talks were finally broken off in november and after the british did a reversal on their 50 year policy of recognizing tibet's status with china, which was pretty much almost one step into autonomy, what the dalai lama wants, but you are correct, a succession of american governments has pursued, since nixon, the belief that constructive engagement with china will result in positive reform in commie that. it has not yet. >> it failed totally. >> right. it has resulted in great corporate profit, which is why it's sustained. corporations make money, they contribute to politicians, politicians support the system under which corporations make money.
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republican or democrat. and i'm not just blaming corporations, but i'm saying there's an economic incentive why the ostents to do this. -- the u.s. continues to do this. i think the jury is a little bit out right now on the obama administration. but the early signs are not promising. but i don't think that people can count on governments to bring this change about. i really do think that this has to be the kind of people power change, to change things in the philippines, that change things with south africa. i was in the white house and the tailend of our book has an anecdote about this, but i was in the white house when we first noticed that support for the constructive engagements policy with south africa had eroded to the point that we were going to lose control of the debate to congress and that happened not because congress passed sanctions. congress passed sanctions, because we had lost control. the real movement was started by randall robinson tanned college students around the united
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states who went from -- to universities, to local communities, to state legislatures and said you can't invest incorporations that do business in south africa. that was the divesment campaign. its counterpart was consumer boycott. they allied with labor unions, they allied with other causes, other than simply human rights causes an eventually built enough pressure that a republican senator named richard lugar decided that sanctions bills -- a sanction bill could not only pass the u.s. senate, but he could sustain a presidential veto, which he did. it was astonishing. inside the white house, that was the first presidential veto that was so badly overridden in the history of the reagan presidency up to that moment and we knew, the grounds had shifted. even if it took chester crocker and the state department a while to figure it out. i think the ground is shifting under china. the global crisis is going to help change perceptions of
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western trade with china. and without going into a long technical treatise, i just want to say that very recently, some very serious economists had begun to reassess what has happened to the global economy. and some important thinkers have come to the conclusion that china's currency policies and its use of its trade surplus to accumulate foreign reserves caused the global collapse. and martin wolf, who is a really, really great oxford economist, writes for the financial times, he has an op-ed there, he published a book called fixing global finance. the book is a bit technical but he outlines this argument with quantitiestative data and it's very good. if that awareness takes hold in european capitals here in america, in corporate boardrooms, people are going to begin to demand that china change its policies with regard to its currency, number one.
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as china floats its currency, it won't be able to export to the west and have the same export-driven strategy it has had. the regime is going to come under tremendous pressure because of that economic change, and this is the moment of maximum weakness. we are going to be in a period of two to three years, maybe longer. >> what if they launch a military strike? >> well, i think if that were to happen and i hope it won't. i mean, i'm a great believer in trying to maintain a sufficient deterrent to keep those things from happening, but that is one of the dangers in a period of destabilized economies and destabilized governments around the world. and so it's in awful our interests to help foster this kind of change, short of those kinds of measures. but with democratic change in china, and i think that is with movements like charter op 8, seriously a possibility and with
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people getting engaged in this here and understanding mistakes, i think we can help foster that change in china now. this maybe the moment. >> do we have any other questions? we have one in here. and then i'll come down here in front. >> hi hi name is jacob chang from taiwan. i have a personal question because i don't want it to be affiliated with my job. i came to this country in 1976. from the first day i came here, i made a point not buying anything made in china. i think i've fulfilled my duty. the problem is, i will say the u.s. marine corps knew everything is made in china, you really cannot find anything that is not made in china, so how can you -- people power, but how can you wake up the awareness of people to do that?
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thank you. >> tough do it individually, i believe. there was an old shampoo commercial on that many people will remember and it was how to tell you were friends about this fabulous shampoo called herbal essences. so if you told one friend and they told two friends and so on and so on. i think it has to start here in this room. if the journalists here write about this in their newspapers, if you all go home and talk to your family and friends, if you explain, why is it important not to buy these products, it will go on and on and on. it has to start with the people, i firmly believe with what john is saying, that -- and our reporter here at radio free asia, politicians aren't going to solve the problem. corporations are not going to solve this problem. corporations are making far too much money having products made in china. far too much. we have to force those corporations to change. it's going to start with the
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individual. i'm glad to hear that you've been doing this, and i've been doing it and the more people i tell, i'm hearing people saying, oh, i haven't bought anything made in china in the last six months or a year. everyone has their own reasons. their reasons may not be tibet related, but if you start the dialogue, if you start the conversation, this can grow into a global movement. >> i'm a -- i like to collect examples of political and social change and one of my favorite examples of what appears to be spontaneous social change actually involves change. small change, money. everyone in this room has been into a convenience store or a gas station where there's a little container on the counter that says, if you have a penny, leave a penny, and if you need a penny, take a penny. who started that? i didn't get a memo. i don't remember, you know, the pope or a president or a celebrity telling us, hey, if
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you've got a penny, you know, leave it the counter because someone may need it to make change. and if you need a penny, take it. but people if their own wisdom decided pennies ar cumbersome thing to make change with and why don't we do this. i don't know where that started. how did it spread. how did it happen to be the case that today it is universal throughout america. maybe it spread through truck stops, you know, maybe truckers carried it from, you know, there's a theory of aids transmission in india that you have to follow the truck stops. well, maybe it's the same thing with the pennies. you have to follow the truckers. i don't know. but that's an example of how somebody said this makes sense and started doing it, and now everybody does it and takes it for granted. we're trying to say, this makes sense and we're hoping that people will start doing it and if people do start doing it and if it spreads and if it makes sense to enough people, all we
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need is to knock off 1% to 2% of china's g.d.p. and that 1% to 2% will be the ful fulcrum that wil make the chinese people reassessment here's the question they have to put in their minds. how much is it worth to continue to repress political freedom in china to hang on to tibet, to not let the dalai lama have -- if you visited barcelona, you're looking at two awe ton must regions. spain, the central government, still is responsible for defense, foreign policy, the currency, macro decisions that affect the ethnic population. the katalans have their own language, the basques. when i was a child, i lived if
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spine and just to wear a coat in the red, and white colors of the basques flag would get you arrested. to teach a school using the bsaque language was illegal. to publish or broadcast in bsaque was illegal. they also had a popular political moment that when franco passed from the scene helped to establish an autonomous region and today, go see bill at the art museum and you're looking at what the dalai lama would like to see in china. i think china could live with something like that. if you had a china whose borders for purposes of national defense encompassed tibet, but where the tibetans were free to have their own self-government and self-rule, that's a winning formula for everybody. so we're hoping that these things make sense to people and the idea will take hold and like those pennies on the counters,
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that change will proliferate. >> let's do our last one down here as i promised. >> yeah. freedom correspondent. you talked about what happened in the ike administration. why he want to have the c.i.a. take all the -- [inaudible] does he think the c.i.a. is not part of darma? and the second is, i would like to clear one thing for me. what i heard is that in the dalai lama time, state and religion is one, and state and religion control the land. and when chinese come in, they distribute all the land to the people. and so when the dalai lama realized this, then he come out reformed. how true is this? >> sure.
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>> taking the second half first, the form of government that existed in tibetan in 1950, absolutely a theocracy, i mean, government and religion were very closely intertwined. you looked at the monasteries, they were everything from learning centers and universities to part of the banking system and sometimes they helped collect taxes and they became centers of resistance when the fighting actually took place. that said, after the 1950 invasion, i mean, the dalai lama worked on a number of reform attempts with china, his brother had a very ambitious series of reforms he tried to introduce in the mid 1950's in tibetan -- in tibet. i think few people would deny that tibet was never a shangrala. there was not many hospitals, you know, talking about roads and electricfication, those
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things didn't exist, but that was also true of most of central asia at that time and a lot of central asia in that region even today. i mean, i've personally been to northern pakistan and kurdistan and kazakhstan and northern india and i have some understanding of the state of development there. and 50 years ago, in appalachian in the united states, you know, we needed a rural electricfication administration so we could have light bulbs in those coal miner's houses down there. so the problems tibet had in terms of income and quality were not -- equality were not unique, they existed in a lot of the world. there were reform attempts that were being made and i think the tibetans might have succeeded on their own if the chinese had not pushed very hard, the communal policies under chairman mao. that was what really caused the reaction of the people, and you know, this is much like iraq. there are a lot of places that need reform, but not very many
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people like it at the point of a bay net and if you want to arouse people's patriotism and their nationalistic passions and their desire to defend their homes and their families and just march in with bay nets, that's all you have to do, you can be the u.s. you can have the best intentions in the world as we did in iraq, but you will find there will be an insurgency and i think that story is what has happened to china in tibet. there's no way you can go into a country like this and take over the land, the people and the culture without arousing that kind of passion. it's absolutely true that the eisenhower administration wanted to have the c.i.a. carry out the work of supporting the resistance so that publicly, the eisenhower administration could deny any involvement. in fact, they had a refinement on that that i think is kind of astonishingly bold, if you will. at the very same tim that the 5412 special group is meeting in
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the white house to go over the operational details of this planning, president eisenhower is instructing all of his diplomats around the world not to make any in as i understandry statements about tibet, because we don't want to be seen as exploiting the problem in tibet. so the u.s. had a public diplomacy posture of aloofness, let's not push this issue too hard in public, because we don't want anyone to think that we're exploiting this tragedy on the top of the world and meanwhile, the tibetan guerrillas were being trained in colorado and being flown across the world and being parachuted back into tibet, specifically to keep the resistance moving along. so in almost all governments, there is almost always duplicity and what is said publicly is not always what's happening, or at least it's only part of what's helping. part of the story and we try to be very candid about that in the book. >> thank you for your kind attention. while our time is limited now, i
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know that john and elizabeth would be glad to talk with you a little longer after we dismiss. please join me in thanking them again for their prongs. [applause] we stand adjourned. thank you very much. [inaudible conversations]
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>> this summer, book tv is asking, what are you reading? >> hi, i'm garrett, i'm the executive editor of washingtonian magazine here in washington, d.c. for my summer reading this summer, i'm actually -- i'm in the midst of writing my own book about the f.b.i., so a lot of my reading efforts are going into research for that, but interns of pleasure, the books that i'm looking forward to reading are fred kaplan's biography of lincoln as a writer, which came out earlier this year and h.w. brand's new biography of f.d.r., traitor to his class, which was a runnerup for the pulitzer earlier this year as well. then on the fiction side, i love reading books about india, i've traveled there, i find it a fascinating country, and so i've
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got "sea of poppies" on my list for the summer and i'm also huge graham greene fan, i've been collecting all of his books over the last couple of years, so i have one of the last ones i haven't read, it's a battlefield on the list for the summer as well as i collected volume -- eclectic volume of summer set mom, one of the big influences on graham greene's writing, so i always like to read the two of them together when i can. >> >> pulitzer prize winner deborah nelson offers a personal perspective of the vietnam war through interviews with vietnam
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veterans and discloses facts about previously undisclosed facts about the soldiers in vietnam. >> a couple weeks after my book was released, i got a letter from robert fralke, the secretary of the army, during the early 1970's, during nixon's first term. he wrote that he'd read my book, and he couldn't say he enjoyed it. i shouldn't take that personally, he wrote, because he'd never read a book on the vietnam war that he enjoyed. but your facts are correct, he wrote. and you can't ask for more than that. the facts in the book are drawn from the army's own war crimes files, kept secret for most of the past 30 years. and from extensive conversations with the people that are named

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